Steadily growing into its new shoes, the City of Goleta established its city hall at 6500 Hollister Avenue.
Executive offices, including the mayor’s office, as well as the city council will move into the 5,000 square foot Circon Building between Los Carneros Road and Los Carneros Way. The city hopes to complete the move by the end of February.
The city council will continue to hold its weekly meeting in the Goleta Union School District’s Boardroom. Most members have been working out of their homes since the city was approved by voters in November and officially incorporated on Feb. 2.
Interim City Manager Ed Wohlenberg, who has been working in a county building, said the council picked the Circon Building because it is centrally located and has the right amount of space with adequate parking. The city leased the location for three years and has the option to extend if it decides to remain on Hollister Avenue.
“They didn’t want any long-term lease because we may or may not stay there. We could be there up to five years if that’s what the city wants to,” Wohlenberg said.
The city hall will be an access point for the public and a place to handle the city’s budget and other financial matters. Goleta Mayor Margaret Connell said since Santa Barbara County will continue to provide municipal services until the end of June, many citizens will still go through the county offices for routine requests and permits.
“People who have projects that need to get building permits will still be going to [the] county because we won’t have that process set up onsite right away. Over the next few months we hope to be building our own [planning and development] staff,” Connell said. “[With the addition of a city hall] you’re not going to see a quantum leap of change, but I think what you’re going to see is a slow building of some core city staff and moving of some functions from the county to the city offices.”
The city staff consists of a small administrative and financial support group, including recently hired Doreen Farr, a former 2nd District County planning commissioner, who will help keep track of new development projects.
“[Before city hall] we didn’t have any place to put these people, and it was really needed,” Wohlenberg said. “We’re in the initial stages of the acquisition of office furniture. If we can speed it up, I want to do it.”
Connell said city hall will soon have a phone number, website and official e-mail system.
“We need to be able to establish our own presence – be establishing our own files, staff offices and so on. We have a whole lot of things to hang on our walls … we’ve got to hang them up,” she said.
Connell said unlike the City of Santa Barbara, which has offices spread all over the county, Goleta government will remain in one location.
“[Goleta] initially needs all department activity in one building. At the moment, the space we’re leasing is more than we’ll need. Then, as we add stuff, we almost certainly will expand into that space,” she said.